Pune,UPDATED: Aug 12, 2023 23:24 IST
In a development that has ignited a buzz in Maharashtra political circle, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) founder Sharad Pawar on Saturday had a “secret meeting” with his nephew Ajit Pawar, who spearheaded a split in the party to join the BJP-Shinde Sena government.
The hour-long meeting, which has triggered a wide array of speculations in state politics, was held at businessman Atul Chordia’s bungalow in Koregaon Park in Pune. Sharad Pawar’s convoy left Chordia’s house an hour before Ajit Pawar’s.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Amol Mitkari told news agency PTI, “It could be a family meeting between the two leaders”.
BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar said, “It is better to ask them (the Pawars and Jayant Patil) what transpired during the meeting”. Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar are family members, he added.
In a stunning move in July, Ajit Pawar led a vertical split in the NCP to become the deputy chief minister, shocking his uncle Sharad Pawar, who founded the outfit 24 years ago. Eight NCP leaders were also sworn in as ministers at the ceremony held at Raj Bhavan in south Mumbai.
Out of 54 MLAs, the exact number of legislators supporting the groups led by the Pawar senior and Ajit Pawar is yet to be ascertained.
The crisis in the NCP has also weakened the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance of NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra just a year after Eknath Shinde walked out with 40 Sena MLAs and took oath as Chief Minister of Maharashtra with the support of BJP.
(With inputs from PTI)